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Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am substitute teaching English and French this year at the high school level. It astounds me to see the amount of money spent per student in order to enhance their education experience.

Electronic white boards run by Mac Pro computers, digital projectors...overheads have gone by the wayside, DVD players and in the Evansville system...netbook computers for each student. Term papers are researched on the Internet...forget the encyclopedia or for the most part ...the library.

With all of this technology...scores are lagging behind, student motivation is apathetic for the most part and the teacher has become more of a disciplinarian than that of an educator. Pardon my ranting here today but it is my observation that students have lost sight of the reason why they must go to school...it has become a necessary evil for them. Of course this doesn't apply to all students...I just see it as an overarching state of mind permeating the walls of our schools.

Early education was clear cut...reading, writing and arithmetic...almost an arcane phrase nowadays. Yet the products of the early modes of education are prevalent throughout our history. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine...all leading thinkers of their time. The difference? It was unmistakably clear why they went to school...to learn law and history, military strategy, political science, language, reading and writing...In order to have the tools to successfully shape and mold a new country...learning from the mistakes of the past. The goals for students will not be the same today but they still must have a clear cut reason to learn...with that in mind...they will revive their motivation to excel in school again. This is of course an oversimplification but I do think that emphasis on the reasons "why" they are in school will help.

Dan

16 comments:

Sunny said...

Today's technology is wonderful but I think kids today are not learning the basics. A good portion of them can't seem to figure anything out without a calculator or a computer. Some young people don't even know how to make change, and eventually everything will have to be 'thumb' operated.
I love the old classroom picture.
Sunny :)

De Lly Dilettante said...

Lovely photo....classrooms don't look like that anymore.

Dan Felstead said...

Sunny..."thumb operated" being the key words! Amazing what these guys can do with their thumbs and how fast and accurate they are!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Lly...I think the modern classrooms may be a bit more comfortable! I really liked your photo on "Soaring"!

Dan

DawnTreader said...

It's been 20 years since I "tried and gave up" teaching... I'm not sure if our schools are all quite up to your technology standard yet; but the attitude and lack of motivation I think was similar even 20 years ago. (I felt it then too: "the teacher being more of a disciplinarian than an educator".) Go back 100 years and education was still a privilege, and appreciated as such. In our modern society it has become an obligation, and still no guarantee for success (or even a job). I think you're right that the "why" needs to be emphasized but I can also see how for many it's tough to find the motivation...

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader I agree with everything you said. I also have been meaning to ask abut the "technology" thing. I have heard that in Sweeden you all have super super fast internet speeds...is that right?

Dan

JaviZ said...

Great photo and great text, Dan.

Warmly,
Javier Echaiz (from Argentina)

Dan Felstead said...

Javiz...thank you for the comment and have a very Merry Christmas!

Dan

DawnTreader said...

Dan... LOL... Rumours do tend to exaggerate...! It is a government ambition to make broadband available to everyone. Between ambition and reality there is still a gap... In bigger towns, I suppose fast or even superfast broadband is now available for anyone who wants to pay the price. In the countryside however, it's a different story. As for schools, their budget rarely allows them to keep up with the technology standard in the commercial world.

Myself I have cable broadband with <2,5 Mbit/s download capacity. I could get a faster connection at a higher price, but since my computers aren't that fast in themselves there's no point.

dianne said...

Great photo of an old classroom Dan, yes the classrooms of today are far more comfortable, I don't know that the technology in some of the schools here has reached the same standard as your school.
I do know that there is a very 'hands on' approach to education here where the teacher is still in charge of the class and plays a vital role in the teaching of the lesson.
It's not all 'whiteboards' here we still have blackboards in the younger classes as well and I do love the sound of the teacher writing on the board with chalk and the smell of cedar pencils. :) ♡

Rebecca said...

I love the shot. Kids have it so easy these days and they don't even know it, thus they don't appreciate. My husband fears for our future - he sees the difference between US grads who he interviews and just want to know the pay and vacation to grads from India who he hires and they work their butts off for him, always interested in doing a great job. It is scary.

Dan Felstead said...

Dawn Treader...well that sounds similar to here in the states. I had heard that in Sweden folks were getting 100+ meg download speeds consistently.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Dianne...that sound like a school system that I would like to teach in!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Rebecca...you make some great points. In my pas career...I often hired as well and the younger generations (I know I sound like an old fart) are after short term gain with a "career" being the least of their worries.!

Dan

septembermom said...

I think kids are too distracted these days. Older schoolrooms commanded more focus. Technology is wonderful, but I fear that it can diminish some aspects of true learning. Great photo Dan.

Dan Felstead said...

Septembermom...talk about distractions...the high school students here are now provided with netbooks...total distraction during class...instant messaging each other etc....

Dan